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SIYE Time:7:34 on 15th August 2022


Old Love
By TheHallowsInMe31

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other
Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 52
Summary: 10-year-old Willow Young had always been warned of the house at the end of the lane along with its mysterious occupant. But still, she found herself drawn to the house and the old man with sad green eyes that lived inside.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3462; Chapter Total: 432
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
I rushed to push this out as quick as possible to appease the people unhappy with the cliffhanger from chapter 4. I'm sorry if I butchered the French. I haven't taken French in 14 years. If there's any discrepancies in ages/dates that anyone notices please let me know in pm if possible. If there are any other mistakes also let me know. I'm not even proofreading it. I hope this makes up for leaving chapter 4 the way I did.

p.s. Sorry in advance. lol




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The plastic bowl Ginny had been carrying fell to the ground with a noisy clatter, alerting the other party-goers to the now unfolding scene in the doorway.

Harry stared at Ginny in amazement. He hadn't seen her in decades after all. Her red hair, now showing strands of grey, hung loosely around her face like a curtain. The wrinkles on her face drew lines to certain freckles like a connect-the-dots game. Her eyes, the chocolate brown eyes that he had fallen in love with all those years ago, however, showed a youthfulness that one wouldn't expect from someone of her age.

"Harry?" Ginny asked in disbelief, "Is that really you?"

Harry tried to reply but the sudden lump in his throat prevented him from making a sound. Here, standing before him, was the woman that he had loved for the past 55 years, maybe longer, and although he was hesitant to admit it to himself, still loved her completely to this day.

He opened his mouth to speak but still couldn't form the words.

"Mum?" a voice called out behind him, "Is everything okay?"

Lily appeared beside him and Willow, surveying the situation with a closely guarded look in her blue eyes.

"Grandmum," Willow spoke up, "This is Harry, Harry Potter. I crashed my bike by his house and he fixed my ankle and bike for me."

Harry noticed the all-too-knowing smile Willow was not even attempting to hide.

Ginny cleared her throat, "I need to... I need to sit down I think."

Lily led her mother to a chair and gently eased her into it before turning back to Willow and Harry.

"Well come on you two," she said with a smile.

So far, Harry had been able to ignore the rest of the party-goers, having never let his eyes leave Ginny's. Surveying them now, however, brought a whole host of emotions flooding back to him. There were a few blonde heads, from Isaac's side probably, but the red hair of the Weasley clan stood out like a sore thumb.

He tried to focus, to move his feet, to do anything, but fear and anxiety gripped him where he stood.

"Blimey!" Harry heard a voice say, "Harry?"

Ron, Hermione, Molly, and George just stared at him with shock written all over their faces.

"Come on," Harry heard Willow say softly as she took his hand, "It's alright."

Quietly, she led him to an empty chair. No one's eyes even left him as he sat down with Willow next to him. He wanted to look over at Ginny but couldn't bring himself to do it. He was honestly afraid of what he'd see. His emotions were a whirlwind and his thoughts were a complete mess.

"I'm sure we'll all have time to talk later," Lily said as her blue eyes penetrated the gaze of her family, "For now, let's just enjoy Willow's birthday, yeah?"

"Mum told me to give this to you," Willow whispered as she handed him a small vial, "For your nerves."

Harry took the vial and drank it without question as everyone tucked into the meal. Anything to help him get through the night.

"Did you know?" Harry asked Willow in a whisper?

"Know what?" Willow replied with a wide grin.

"You know what," Harry snapped, "Have you known this whole time?"

"Nope," she said with a smile, "I only figured it out after you told me her name."

"And you didn't think to tell me?" he asked testily.

"Why? So you could come up with some excuse not to come?"

She was right. Had he known that Willow was in any way related to the Weasley clan he wouldn't have even considered coming. Seeing the Weasleys again after all this time was like reopening old wounds, wounds that he would rather have forgotten. And Ginny, oh Ginny. He chanced a glance at her to find her staring straight at him, studying him as if he were some sort of test question that she desperately needed the answer to.

He was unable to break her gaze as he stared into her eyes. Eyes that showed fear, regret, and even a little anger, but most importantly, at least that Harry could see, love.

Willow snapped her fingers in front of his face to get his attention.

He looked back at Willow as she let out an exasperated sigh, "As I was saying, These are my two friends from down the road. Olivia and Noah. Guys, This is Harry who lives at the end of the lane."

Harry stared at the two kids with brown hair that looked like siblings as Willow introduced them. The girl seemed to be a year or two older than the boy.

"Pleased to meet you," Harry said stiffly. The potion Willow had given him had taken the edge off his frayed nerves but he was still feeling anxious and surrounded all the same.

"Don't let his tone fool you," Willow laughed, "He's a big softy."

Someone chuckled but Harry didn't look up to see who.

"So Willow wasn't lying," The girl named Olivia said.

"What do you mean?" Harry asked

"Well for as long as I've lived here, no one has ever really talked to you have they?" Olivia said, "Everyone is kind of scared of the creepy old guy that lives at the end of the lane. But not Willow though, of course, she would be the one to become your friend."

Harry would have laughed under different circumstances, "I apologize. I don't mean to make people feel so uneasy. I just like my privacy though."

"Don't lie," Willow said, "You absolutely were avoiding anyone and everyone and didn't care what people thought."

Olivia and Noah laughed as Harry turned to Willow.

"I can see how you're related to Ginny," Harry said, acknowledging a Weasley for the first time since he had arrived.

Harry chanced another glance at Ginny to find her in a quiet conversation with Lily.

"So how have you been?" Hermione asked.

"I've been okay," Harry replied, "Enjoying my retirement and whatnot."

"But you retired from the Aurors almost right after Ginny did from the Harpies," Ron said, "What did you do after that?"

"I became a healer for a small hospital in France," Harry admitted, "I only moved back to England twelve years ago."

"Intéressante," Hermione said, "Avez-vous aimé la France?

"Oui," Harry replied in fluent French, "C'était nouveau et excitant. je l'ai aimé."

"Um Harry," Willow said, "No one here knows what in the heck you guys are saying."

Harry and Hermione both laughed and for a moment, for one glorious moment, It was like the past had been erased, as if the last 53 years of his life had never happened. He was sitting here at a table with his best friends and adoptive family members and for one moment, Harry reveled in it.

The rest of the party passed quite quickly and soon, Harry found himself with just Willow and her parents, Ron and Hermione, and Molly Weasley as well as Ginny.

"Oh, I almost forgot," Harry said as he pulled his gift for Willow out of his pocket and enlarged it with his wand before handing it to her, "Happy birthday."

Willow squealed as she placed the package on the now-cleared table.

"I hope you don't mind," Harry said turning to Lily, "I should have asked first before getting it."

"I'm sure it's fine Harry," Lily replied.

Willow tore at the wrapping uncovering a long nondescript box.

"Who cares," Willow said as she opened the box with a grin, "I'm sure I'll lov....."

The rest of what she had been about to say died on her lips.

"What is it, Willow?" Lily questioned, "Hold it up. Let us see it."

"It's um, It's uh, a broomstick."

With shaking hands, Harry watched as she pulled the broomstick out of the box before she carefully placed it on the table as if it were made of glass.

"Bloody Hell," Ron gasped, "That's a Firebolt Ultimate."

"Uncle Ron, language!" Lily said.

"Sorry," Ron said looking sheepish, "But I don't think you understand. It's the best broom in the world. Firebolt hasn't made a broom since the Supreme."

They all inspected the broom. The handle was stained a deep mahogany color with the words Firebolt Ultimate emblazoned in gold on the side. The twigs were perfectly clipped and the goblin-made metal casting gleamed like diamonds.

"Harry," Ron turned to him, "Do you even know how to buy an average gift for someone?"

"I guess not," he said with a laugh.

"What do you mean?" Isaac asked Ron.

"Let's put it this way," Ron said, "I bet 10 galleons this broomstick cost more than your house."

Everyone turned to look at him as he shifted his gaze downwards.

"Is this true?" Isaac asked him.

"Maybe," Harry replied meekly.

"We appreciate this Harry," Isaac said, "But we can't accept. This is way too much money."

"Wait, What?" Willow nearly shouted, "No take-backs."

Harry laughed, "Mr. Young, I normally don't advertise my wealth but I am very wealthy. It didn't even make a dent in my finances. I wanted to gift something special to Willow to thank her for taking the time to get to know me. Besides, she gave me a gift worth so much more."

"And that would be?" Isaac questioned.

Whether it was from the potion or not he didn't know but the anxiety he had felt upon arriving had all but disappeared.

Harry looked at everyone gathered around the table before his eyes fell on Ginny, "She reunited me with my friends and family and that's worth all the gold in the world to me."

While her face showed no emotion, Ginny's eyes told a different story. He had always been able to read her like a book through her eyes.

He looked at everyone else, all of who were smiling except for Molly Weasley, who was wiping the tears from her eyes with a handkerchief.

"Well then I'm sure Willow graciously accepts your gift," Isaac said.

Willow barreled into Harry at a speed that surprised him as she hugged him around the middle, "Thank you, Harry."

"It was no trouble," he replied with a smile as he patted her on the back.

"George," Ginny spoke up for the first time that night, "Why don't you take Mum home and make sure she gets settled in alright. It's getting dark."

Harry looked around at the setting sun with surprise. Had he really been here for three hours already?

"Yeah alright," George said as he stood up, "Come on mum."

Mrs. Weasley stood up to follow her son but turned back around to look at Harry.

Without even thinking about it, Harry also stood up, walked over to her, and enveloped her in a hug for the first time in fifty years.

"I knew you'd find your way back to us Harry," Molly whispered in his ear.

Harry felt a lump form in his throat as tears threatened to spill from his eyes.

"I know," Harry choked out, "I'm sorry it took so long."

"Nonsense," she said as they broke apart, "You're here now. That's what matters."

"I promise I'll try to come and visit," Harry said as she stepped up to the arm George offered her.

"Please do," Molly said to him, "We have much to catch up on."

Molly gave him one last smile before she disapparated with George.

Composing himself, Harry turned and walked back to the table.

As he sat down, Ginny wasted no time in asking him the question he felt had been gnawing at her since they first saw each other in the doorway.

"Why did you disappear?"

Harry sighed. He knew it was only a matter of time before they had this conversation. He had been dreading it since he first laid eyes on her earlier.

"I think you know why," he said, his voice coming out more bitter than he meant it to.

"Isaac honey," Lily said, "Why don't you take Willow inside to put all her presents up."

Willow looked like she wanted to protest but Lily's glare silenced any argument from the 11-year-old girl.

After Willow and her dad had gathered up all the presents and walked through the back doorway, it left just him, Lily, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny seated at the table.

Ginny turned to look at him with a fierce determination in her eyes.

"I don't know why," she said, "You could've just ignored me. That would've made all the sense in the world. You didn't have to completely disappear. You didn't have to do that to mum. You were one of her children just the same as any of us were. She was devastated."

"We all were," Hermione spoke up, "Ron didn't talk to anyone for months."

Harry hung his head in shame. He had never meant to cause problems for the Weasleys. All he had been thinking about at the time was Ginny's rejection.

"I'm sorry," Harry said softly as he looked up, "I never meant to hurt any of you. I just couldn't stay after everything that happened."

"Mate, what are you talking about?" Ron asked, "You took off those few years after Voldemort to pull yourself together. You came back though and I thought things would go back to normal after that.

"Yeah I did too," Harry said quietly.

When he had come back to find Ginny engaged he had been crushed. She had not waited for him. He hadn't really expected her to nor had he asked her to, but he had hoped all the same. He had hoped her love for him would've been enough to outweigh the loneliness she must have felt.

"When I came back," Harry started as he looked at Ginny, "And I found out you were engaged to Oliver, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was miserable that the woman I loved so completely was promised to someone else. But, I stuck around. I didn't run off against my better judgment because it wasn't your fault. I don't blame you or hate you for marrying Oliver. I just wanted to see you happy."

"Then why did you disappear years later?" Hermione asked.

Because," Ginny spoke up, "That wasn't the last time Harry and I saw each other."

"What like you two were still friends?" Ron asked in confusion.

"No nothing like that," Harry said, "Ginny and I didn't see each other for almost 9 years excluding that one Christmas at the Burrow. But, she retired from the Harpies eventually and I was one of the aurors tasked with protecting the celebrations. All the death eaters had been captured by then but there were still old pureblood families sympathetic to Voldemort's cause. We didn't want to take any chances."

"He was under a slight disguise," Ginny said, "But I noticed it was him instantly. He forgot to change his eyes and tell me the last time you've ever seen someone with Harry's eyes."

They all looked around the table in some agreement. Harry had very unique eyes. Sure, other people had green eyes, but none ever shined quite like Harry's did.

"Anyways," Harry said, "We were together that night."

Hermione gasped as she stared between the both of them, "You didn't!"

This time it was Ginny's turn to lower her head in shame. She had never wanted to become a cheater and Oliver had never deserved that. She had confessed to him shortly after and they decided to get a divorce amicably, and stay friends.

"Huh?" Ron asked, "What does that mean?"

Hermione rolled her eyes, "Honestly dear you're just as dense as you were when you were a kid. They had sex."

It was a testament to the amount of time that had passed that Ron was able to take in those words without blushing. Were he younger, his whole face would have looked like a tomato at the revelation.

Harry looked at Ginny as she squirmed under his gaze, "Anyway, the next morning in the hotel room after we woke up, I was packing bags. We had made plans the night before to run off for a little while and just enjoy each other's company. I know it's stupid, we had been drinking the night before, but to me, nothing ever felt more right than being with Ginny so I didn't question wanting to run off with her that day."

For the second time that night, Harry felt tears threaten to spill over onto his face but somehow kept them under control. Maybe it was the old age, but the younger him would've been crying by now.

"That was when she told me that the previous night had been a mistake," Harry said bitterly, "She explained to me that she was still married to Oliver and couldn't keep running around with me, that she was going home to him and not me."

"Ginny?" Ron questioned, "Is this true?"

Harry saw Ginny let out a sigh, "Yes."

"But how could you do that to Harry?" Ron asked as his voice rose, "How could you do that to Oliver? Neither one of them deserved that."

"You don't think I know that?" Ginny snapped, "You don't think I still sit here years later and regret the choices I've made. I'm not proud of what I did. I've had a long time to come to terms with my betrayal of both Oliver and Harry and while I have not and will never forgive myself, I left it in the past where it needs to stay."

Ginny stared at him after her outburst as if daring him to say something. The look on her face was too much so he instead turned to Hermione who had a look of dawning realization across her features.

"So that's why you quit the aurors and disappeared not even a week after Ginny's retirement party."

"Yeah," Harry said to his friend, "Like I said, I had to get away. I couldn't stay here anymore with all the bad memories, so I packed my stuff, and I was in France by the next week."

"I wish you hadn't," Ginny said so softly that Harry barely heard her.

"Why?" Harry asked, "So I could sit here and watch you be happy with Oliver. Do you realize the amount of self-loathing I'd have to possess to do something like that? I know I liked to torture myself when we were younger but we were adults and I just couldn't watch you be with him."

"I divorced Oliver," Ginny said quietly as she stared at him.

"What?!" Harry said, "When?"

"Two months after that night at the hotel," Ginny admitted, "I tried to find you, to let you know what had happened and that despite all my reservations, I was ready to be with you, Oliver and I talked and he convinced me to go find you. You were already gone though."

She was basically telling him that the last 37 years of his life never had to happen. She had been ready for him and he had run away. The thought now made a horrible feeling of loathing well up in his chest. Not for Ginny, no, but for himself. It always came back around to him distancing himself from other people or playing the hero. There was no point in crying about it now though. 37 years had passed. Too long, in Harry's opinion, to try to dwell on the what-ifs and could have beens. He tried to push the thought out of his head. He knew his mind would torture him later with it.

Harry noticed Lily look at Ginny and for a moment, he thought he saw fear skirt across her features. It was immediately replaced with a blazing look of determination as Ginny gave her daughter a nod.

"There's something else everyone should know," Ginny said in a steady voice."

"There's more to the story?" Ron said as he gaped at his sister.

"Unfortunately yes," Ginny said, "But it's the most important part and I've only told two people about this."

Ginny turned back to Harry as she continued, "I only hope you can forgive me one day Harry. Maybe if I had tried harder to find you, so much time wouldn't have been wasted and you would've gotten to know her sooner."

"You wouldn't have been able to find me, I was perfectly hidden," Harry said back to her, "What do you mean know her sooner? What are you talking about Ginny?"

Ginny sighed as she motioned to Lily.

Lily took out her wand and muttered, "Finite."

Lily's face shifted ever so slightly as her nose lengthened slightly and her cheekbones filled with more definition.

When she was done, Harry froze, completely gob-smacked as he stared into the emerald green eyes of Lily Young.

The silence around the table was absolute.

Lily looked at him with a small smile.

"Hey, dad."
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